we loaded up around noon and, as usual, i realized it does not take all that long to get to sandy lake and it is not nearly enough time for oliver to even think about falling asleep, much less take a nap. oh well.
we arrived and unloaded and found a picnic table where i offered oliver his lunch box. he was already agog, looking at all the nearby kiddie rides and felt if he refused to eat lunch, it would accelerate his progress to his own fun fest. we learned my sister and niece were on a bench not far away, because nothing is far away at sandy lake amusement park. so we ambled on over and i think brian got a pickle, or something, and oliver continued to refuse to eat his lunch. brian, oliver, and i started walking back to the car to shed some of our gear and the second oliver realized where we were headed, he acted like an animal being led to the slaughter. it was at this point we vividly recalled our exit from the park last year where much of the same thing happened. only for longer that time.
once we convinced him we were not leaving, he calmed down.
i purchased tickets and we all hopped on the miniature train. as it was fun fest, the place was overrun by unsupervised middle schoolers. i'm sure you can imagine. halfway through the train trip, about 8 of the kids decided to jump off the train. the rude, little shits. the caboose operator (i had never realized there was one) pointed out to the girl who fell while jumping that that is why one should not jump from a moving train, miniature or no. who's a punk now.
oliver made the rounds through the rides available to someone of his stature several times. the carousel, the bouncing fish (also known as "bulgy the whale," for some reason), the race cars, and the boats. he proved himself to be an excellent bell ringer on the boats and he let his mouth flail open with vigor. we befriended the carnie who was rotating through all the rides to operate them and for our last trip on the carousel, she suggested having mommy and baby go for free to see how violet liked it. so violet had her first ride. her little legs were stiff as boards and she kept sliding to one side, but she knew to hold on to the golden pole with both hands for dear life after it started.
speaking of stature, that little lady was a stickler for the rules. oliver barely made the cut. okay, i'm not sure he wasn't just a little too short. i got to thinking it was pretty surprising that he was able to ride rides for two years prior. i mean, shit... he was still only a year old when he rode that race car for the first time. craziness.
the first year we went, i folded myself up into one of the dragon wagon cars with him and he freaked at the last minute and we didn't get to ride it. last year, i was 20 months pregnant and there was no way i was going to fit in there. plus, they don't usually recommend that pregnant ladies do fun things like ride roller coasters, no matter how tiny the coaster might be. so this year, it was on. i struggled to get us buckled in and then we were off. just the two of us. on the entire ride. that is one of the quaint things about sandy lake. it is not at all unusual for you to get to have the kiddie rides all to yourself. it's like being a rock star who can afford to buy the place out for their birthday. or richie rich. whoever.
so there we were in the dragon wagon. second car. and the little latina lady holding her cheese nachos in a basket threw the switch and we jolted up our first hill. this thing just goes in a little circle and up and down three little hills. but it still kind of threw me for a loop, i'm such a carnival lightweight. i find all that up and down business disconcerting. unnatural. but i giggled crazily the entire time. partly to keep oliver happy and partly because those little hills were jerking it right out of me.
brian convinced ashleigh to go on the old pretzel ride with him. he reported it was pretty tame. and then, ashleigh convinced dylan to go on the old pretzel ride with her and dylan was totally tricked.
speaking of dylan, for some reason, their band decided to start playing fifteen minutes early and my sister recognized the music and the next thing i knew, we were all sitting in the tent listening to some middle schoolers do a pretty kick ass job. we only got to hear about five minutes of the program and i still didn't realize until halfway through that, when my sister leaned over and whispered, "that's dylan's solo," that we were already watching dylan's band. dammit. i felt kind of bad about that. we were too busy putting our child on dragon wagons and eating pickles to get in there on time. oliver sat there quietly with his hands folded and ankles crossed, like a little gentleman.
after the show, dylan was free to play and he and ashleigh went on a couple of rides together. the last was that one with all the swings on chains that looks mild-mannered enough until they crank it up to 80 mph and everyone goes flying straight out and horizontal to the ground. they walked with us to the car to leave and stood there kind of doubled over and holding their stomachs. ashleigh spit on the ground. and then they turned to go hobble over to their SUV to lament their conjoined illness together.
we put children in the car and took the long way home, due to rush hour traffic and all.
i don't know why they have a cactus playing an electric guitar. there are no electric guitars in middle school band. or cactii. my sister hypothesized every last band member of every last band must be receiving their very own fun fest trophy.
i think i might have screamed just a little bit when the top of the egg came off. brian decided to steal him for his own self.
these two crack me up.
this is oliver approximately 3.5 minutes after we started the car.